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WSOP Main Event: Starting to get serious


As of tomorrow what you see is what you get. After six days of play - the combination of four day ones and two day twos - the field unites. The tension will switch up a notch, opponents will eye each other more suspiciously and the careless will catch themselves counting down places to the money, a dangerous distraction, as everyone plays together in poker harmony. The winner will be out there somewhere.

The line up for day three was decided tonight. Always destined to be the weightier of the two second days 2,924 players arrived today to fill the Amazon, Brasilia and Miranda rooms to capacity and then spill over into the area outside Buzios restaurant towards the casino as well as into the casino card room itself. It would be a tough day, not least for those dispatched to check up on them.

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It wasn't long before players began to bust, tables began to break and the focus gradually shifted back to the Amazon Room. It was there, at a little after 10.30pm, that players allowed themselves some modest jubilation at having survived another day, another four levels in the bag, four levels closer to that ultimate prize. But it came at great cost.

For every survivor so far there have been three losers, subjected immediately to the harshness of the poker caste system that banishes non-playing civilians to the other side of the rail while the chipped up ignore them from on the fun side lest their fate become contagious.

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Victor Ramdin - among the first eliminations on day 2b

The high tempo spared none but the well armed. Johnny Lodden, Gavin Griffin, Isabelle Mercier, Ylon Schwartz and Victor Ramdin all fell before the final whistle, as did ShootingStar Florian Langmann and actor Marlon Wayans, with fortunes shifting arbitrarily on the turn of a card.

There was a flip side though which several Team PokerStars Pros bore witness.

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Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier - among the leaders on day 2b

Dennis Phillips finished among the leaders, closing out the day on 230,000. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier followed suit, closing out the day on 165,000, Hevad Khan did the same with 135,000 and Benjamin Kang bagged and tagged 145,000. Maria Mayrinck managed to survive, albeit with 25,000, and Humberto Brenes bagging up 33,000 tonight. Noah Boeken's good form continues, ending on 140,000, as did that of Andre Akkari on 72,000.

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Former World Champion Joe Hachem

Could there be a double win for a former World Champion? Well Joe Hachem kept that thought alive, a tricky day that awarded him 135,000 to play with on Friday.

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Peter Eastgate

Hachem will be joined by Greg Raymer in that category and Peter Eastgate, who pulled off a Houdini style last hour to go from 20,000 to nearly 100,000, doubling up not once but twice, the first time quipping "That's why I'm the champion... I'm lucky" with a large grin. The long shot double win is still on.

Being a championship-winning NBA basketball player, Jordan Farmar had been thwacked by the good fortune stick some time ago, but he satisfied the railbirds, taking his stack from 48,175 to 78,000 at the end of the day. The LA Lakers point guard, playing in PokerStars colours, will return in good scoring position.

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NBA star Jordan Farmar

The shape of that third day is not yet known but will be soon enough. Tournament officials, manoeuvring among the bags of chips, will now piece together the forensic evidence of the day, re-write it in list form and have the details with us in the small hours; 5,008 stories, most of them still likely to go untold.

The rest made the walk back to taxi ranks, the bars and hotel rooms for sleep and possible alcoholic relief, thankful perhaps of making it through another arduous day, but conscious that in the grand scheme of things they're not even half way. But the money is close and that, for some anyway, will make or break their Friday night.

Our coverage takes a break now with no play scheduled for Thursday, allowing players to rest and the media to regroup, recharge and recycle some of their best verbs and adjectives.

Don't miss them when play resumes...

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